Broward County School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson said he thought the sounds of gunshots at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 were firecrackers, and he wasn't sure if they were coming from inside or outside the school.
Video footage released Thursday from the Florida school where 17 people were killed on Valentine's Day appears to confirm that a sheriff's deputy did not try to confront the gunman accused of staging the massacre.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office on Thursday released 30 minutes of surveillance video taken outside the high school following a judge's order, citing "strong public interest". The video shows Peterson moving quickly away from Building 9 and at times on a golf cart, again moving away from the building.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office and county School Board had resisted the video release, saying it was exempt from disclosure in part because it was evidence in an active investigation.
Peterson resigned from his post last month after he was suspended without pay.
The release of the footage comes one day after National Walkout Day, where survivors of the shooting and students nationwide walked out of their classrooms to send a message something needs to change when it comes to school safety and gun laws.
The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating allegations that multiple other deputies responded to the school but remained outside, while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reviewing the police response to the shooting. He radioed the sheriff's office with a warning. When they arrive, Peterson pulls his weapon and goes forward but then retreats and takes up a position outside the building.More news: Homecoming for Irish Grand Slam winners cancelled due to weather
After that initial footage, the details in the footage illuminate very little further than that he travelled to the building, and apparently did not immediately enter.
"He never went in", the sheriff said of Peterson in a news conference on February 22.
The 27 minutes of footage released today does not show inside the buildings, the gunman or the faces of any students.
His attorney Joseph DiRuzzo claims that Peterson believed the shots were outside; adding that he had been following his training by "taking cover and prompting a lockdown".
It begins shortly after gunfire erupted, with Peterson and civilian security monitor Kelvin Greenleaf walking with objective outside an administration building, clearly alarmed by sounds.
The surveillance video does not show any of the horrific shooting that occurred inside Building 12, but it does show some of the frantic response that occurs outside. He has been charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the shooting. He stood in court for the first time on Wednesday and refused to speak - forcing Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.